One of the most common questions I get in my office is How do I talk to my child about puberty?
Many parents ask this because they were never taught about it themselves. Mothers tell me that their mothers never talked to them about it and fathers say the same. Let’s break the cycle!
This week on my podcast, I’m talking all about how to talk to your kids about puberty. You can listen to the full episode here.
I know you might be embarrassed to talk about puberty with your preteen son or daughter. I know you don’t know how to start or what to say, but regardless of your hesitations, it is critical you are the one who talks to your child about puberty. Not a book. Not a sex-ed teacher. You.
Why? Three reasons.
1. Your child wants to know how you feel about the changes happening to his or her body. Your kids pick up cues from you all the time about what you think about them. They form their sense of self according to what they think you believe about them. This means they want to know what you think about their changing body. If you feel good about it, they can feel good about it. You can give them a message that their body is amazing even, and especially, when they are going through puberty.
2. You want to make sure your child feels positive about puberty and not ashamed of it. You can take away these feelings of shame when you openly talk to your child about her body. She will internalize the message that her body is not shameful; it is good. Every child at some point feels embarrassed or ashamed of what their bodies are going through. Just look at their body language. Boys hunch over as they grow taller. Girls cross their arms around their bellies as their bodies fill out. You can restore confidence in your child simply by talking openly about these changes and empathizing with them. You went through puberty once too, remember?
3. While you’re discussing puberty, other topics related to puberty will come up. Important issues like gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation often naturally arise when you start talking about puberty. Your child wants to know what you think about these things. They’re hearing about it at school and in their friend groups, but you can help them honestly process their thoughts and feelings, tell them they are normal for wondering about these things and let them know they can come to you with whatever questions they have about their bodies or sex in the future.
Now that you know why you should have this talk with your child, you’re probably wondering how. Where do you start? What do you say?
This is why I created my latest course How to Talk to Your Son/Daughter About Puberty. The course is available exclusively in my online parenting community Parenting Great Kids (PGK).